Jeff Karstens Rumors
The Brewers continue their push for the second NL Wild Card spot as they look to win their series against Mets this afternoon at Miller Park. However, they will have to do so without Corey Hart. Hart has been sidelined for the last six games since he partially tore the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, in his left foot a week ago. Hart did running drills this morning, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, and all did not go well. Hart, who was able to run in a straight line but suffered discomfort when making stops and turns, said, "It’s a little frustrating. Today was the first day I tried to run the bases, and it didn’t go as planned.” Elsewhere from the NL Central:
- The Cardinals, currently tied with the Dodgers for the final NL Wild Card berth, may receive a boost from Chris Carpenter, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Carpenter threw a 90-pitch simulated game yesterday and manager Mike Matheny suggested only a poor recovery from the session could derail his return to the active roster sometime next week.
- In a separate piece, Strauss suggests the 2013 Cardinals will look remarkably similar to this year's version.
- The Pirates can blame their second-half swoon on their pitching, writes John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times. The Pirates have shaken up their rotation by replacing James McDonald with Kyle McPherson.
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel, the team will not be going to a six-man rotation. Hurdle informed Jeff Karstens today management wants to see the right-hander work out of the bullpen before considering putting him back into the rotation.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
The Marlins ended their franchise record offensive draught of scoring five runs or less for 25 consecutive games in their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays. And, for good measure, the nine runs were a season-high for the Marlins, who ended their six-game losing streak. Here's the latest news from around baseball.
- The Braves could make starting pitching a priority at the trade deadline because of the growing pains of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado and the uncertainty surrounding Jair Jurrjens, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- The Pirates need to create an opening in their starting rotation when Jeff Karstens returns from the disabled list this week and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thinks a trade could create that opening (via Sulia). Biertempfel reported yesterday the Pirates are shopping Kevin Correia.
- With the Pirates looking for offensive help, the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes the Rockies have players available, including Marco Scutaro. In the same piece, Renck offers his suggestions on who the Rockies should play the rest of the way in 2012, so as to best prepare for 2013.
- The Nationals are not willing to pay a fine in order to exceed their draft bonus pool, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This is a corection to a story Kilgore wrote yesterday. Kilgore writes this stance will lower the amount the Nationals will be able to offer their first round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
- Condolences to the friends of family of Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today. He was 50.
Dozens of arbitration eligible players have agreed to deals with their respective teams today and we've been tracking all of the developments right here. Several teams, including the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays, Braves, and perhaps Astros, are known for committing to going to hearings if they get to the point of filing. Keep track of all the madness with MLBTR's arbitration tracker, which shows settlement amounts, filing figures, and midpoints. Today's players to avoid arbitration on deals worth less than $4MM:
- The Cardinals avoided arbitration with pitcher Kyle McClellan, tweets B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (on Twitter) that the one-year deal is worth $2.5MM with incentives based on starts. MLBTR projected a $2.7MM for the Steve Comte client.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports (on Twitter) that the Padres and Chase Headley agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.475MM, avoiding arbitration. Earlier this evening, the Padres announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Gregerson, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. They also avoided arbitration with lefty reliever Joe Thatcher on a deal worth $700K, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. CAA announced catcher John Baker has signed for $750K. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the Padres reached agreements with Hundley, Chase Headley, and Tim Stauffer. Hundley will earn $2MM in 2012, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets the salaries for Volquez ($2.2375MM), Venable ($1.475MM), Gregerson ($1.55MM)
- The Rangers avoided arbitration with Matt Harrison, tweets Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. The ACES client gets $2.95MM on a one-year deal. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary.
- The Cubs announced that they have avoided arbitration with Jeff Baker ($1.375MM), Blake DeWitt ($1.1MM), Ian Stewart ($2.237MM) Chris Volstad ($2.655MM), and Randy Wells ($2.705MM). MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweeted the salary figures.
The Pirates have avoided arbitration with Ronny Cedeno and Jeff Karstens, signing both players to one-year contracts. MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch has the contract details. Cedeno will earn a $1.85MM base in 2011, and has a club option for '12 that includes significant incentives based on starts. Karstens will earn $1.1MM next year.
Cedeno is the incumbent starter at shortstop, though the Pirates are known to be looking for help at the position. The veteran has played mostly shortstop over the last two years, but has also played second, third and the outfield in his career. Cedeno has a .682 OPS in 672 plate appearances as a Pirate.
Karstens came to the Bucs in July 2008 as part of the trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees. In 74 appearances (41 of them starts) for Pittsburgh, Karstens has posted a 4.95 ERA and a 1.73 K/BB ratio. As Biertempfel pointed out in his longer article, Karstens' $1.1MM salary for 2011 is almost triple what he earned last season.
Other news from Biertempfel...
- Infielder Argenis Diaz, outfielder Lastings Milledge and left-handers Brian Burres and Donald Veal were all non-tendered by the Bucs, but the club wants to re-sign Burres and Veal. Diaz "is unlikely to return."
- Milledge could be welcomed back "if we think it's the right fit for the team, and he thinks it's the right fit for him," said Neal Huntington. The Pirates GM said he couldn't work out a contract with Milledge before the non-tender deadline and "began to explore alternatives" to fill Milledge's corner outfield spot. Two options are Jack Cust and Matt Diaz, both of whom were non-tendered themselves by the A's and Braves, respectively.
Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has some odds and ends from around the baseball universe; let's take a look at some of the highlights:
- The trades of players like Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt signify that the Astros have finally moved on and are looking ahead. Wandy Rodriguez is the only remaining player who played in the 2005 World Series with the club.
- General manager Ed Wade refuted speculation that he prefers to trade with the Phillies, the team for which he served as general manager from 1998-2005. Instead, he simply says that the Phillies provided the best offers to improve the Astros. Wade has traded both Oswalt and Brad Lidge to Philadelphia.
- Wade praises first-year manager Brad Mills for keeping the Astros focused after a 17-34 start to the season. Houston went 17-12 in August and has recently swept both the Phillies and Cardinals.
- Edwin Jackson is happy to be in Chicago on a fresh start. “It’s like a new season,” Jackson said. Earlier today we heard that Daniel Hudson, one of the players the Diamondbacks received in the deal, is experiencing similar enjoyment in Arizona.
- Kepner points out that the pitchers acquired from the Yankees in recent years haven't panned out for the Pirates. Ross Ohlendorf has experienced some success, but Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen have both disappointed. All three came to Pittsburgh in the trade for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady. It's worth pointing out that the other component of that trade was Jose Tabata, who has played very well in his first taste of the big leagues this year.
The Pirates designated catcher Robinzon Diaz for assignment on Friday, and now according to a team press release he has cleared waivers and been unconditionally released. The 26-year-old catcher hit .279/.307/.357 in 138 plate appearances for the Pirates this year, catching 283 innings.
The press release also notes that recently-designated players Jeff Karstens and Justin Thomas cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Triple A.
Links for Monday...
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan wonders if Bobby Crosby could be a match for the Rangers as a utility infielder.
- MLB.com's Mychael Urban has an update on free agent lefty Mark Mulder.
- Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball analyzes Tim Lincecum's possible 2010 salary, and predicts the pitcher might submit $16.8MM against the Giants' $8MM figure.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Hideki Matsui's marketability is not a factor for the Yankees.
- Alex Speier of WEEI examines the chances of Roy Halladay remaining a workhorse over the next several seasons.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch doesn't see geography as a big factor for Matt Holliday. Meanwhile, Bernie Miklasz of the P-D doesn't understand Albert Pujols' reasoning as to why he needs to wait to discuss an extension.
- MLB.com's Brian McTaggart asks readers to predict the Astros' arbitration decisions for free agents. Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins are tough calls in that it makes sense but we're not sure if the Astros will. We'll have predictions on all Type A/B free agents later today.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explains why he feels only Felipe Lopez will get an arbitration offer from the Brewers.
- MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the Marlins are leaning against offering arbitration to Type B free agents Kiko Calero and Nick Johnson. Calero might be worth it.
- Jon Weisman of Dodgers Thoughts says the Dodgers' arbitration decisions won't necessarily be influenced by the McCourts' divorce.
- Staying with this theme, FanGraphs' Dave Cameron looks at the factors that should influence a team's arbitration-offer decision.
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports look at the market for Miguel Tejada.
- Morosi suggests ten teams that should talk to the Tigers about Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Edwin Jackson.
- Jacob Jackson of Athletics Nation has a detailed offseason plan for the A's.
- Righty Miguel Batista told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times that he has a few contenders interested in his services.
- Notes from NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman: the Orioles are eyeing pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, and Hideki Okajima would like a contract extension (he's under team control through 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player).
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the fates of Jeff Karstens, Robinzon Diaz, and Justin Thomas will be decided today.
- Elmer Dessens doesn't have a contract with the Mets quite yet, writes Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News.
Some Saturday night links:
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (via Twitter) says that Roy Halladay's reported unwillingness to stay in Toronto is less than shocking and speculates that his time with the Blue Jays is nearing its end.
- Mark Teahen's flexibility could open up some interesting options for the White Sox this winter, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. GM Ken Williams says that he likes Teahen at third base, but wouldn't completely rule out the possibility of moving him to first base or right field.
- Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog weighed in on the Astros' signing of former Yankees minor league pitcher Jose Valdez. Jennings was surprised not by the signing but by the fact that Houston chose to protect the once-highly touted hurler from the Rule 5 draft.
- As mentioned by Jennings, the Pirates DFA'd pitcher Jeff Karstens. Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com characterized the move as "somewhat surprising." The 27-year-old posted an ERA of 5.42 and 1.16 K/BB in 108 IP last season.
The Pirates claimed pitcher Chris Jakubauskas off waivers from the Mariners, according to a team press release. Jakubauskas, 31 next month, allowed 91 hits and 27 walks in 93 innings for the Mariners last year, striking out 47 for a 5.32 ERA.
The Pirates designated Jeff Karstens for assignment to clear roster space. Karstens, 27, was pretty well-regarded by the Pirates when he arrived as part of the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade with the Yankees in July of 2008. He pitched well in his nine starts that year but was bumped from the rotation in June for Charlie Morton.